• Sunday, Sep 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 07:32 pm

Football returns after long hiatus

  • Published at 10:37 pm August 4th, 2020
Bangladesh footballers pose for photographs at the BFF House last month Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Jamie Day had called up a total of 36 footballers, including four new faces, for the initial training camp that begins at Sarah Resort in Gazipur’s Sreepur upazila, a two hours’ drive from the capital

Football in the country is all set to roll back on the field after around five months of Covid-19 lockdown as Bangladesh national team begin residential practice camp from Wednesday, ahead of the World Cup and Asian Cup joint qualifying matches.

Jamie Day had called up a total of 36 footballers, including four new faces, for the initial training camp that begins at Sarah Resort in Gazipur’s Sreepur upazila, a two hours’ drive from the capital.

Captain Jamal Bhuiyan and his new expatriate teammate Finnish defender Tariq Kazi along with Bashundhara Kings trio - Masuk Mia Jony, Matin Mia and Atiqur Rahman Fahad - may miss the first few weeks of the camp for different reasons.

“The three players [Jony, Matin and Fahad] have been refused permission by Kings because they had long-term injuries before lockdown, and they want to assess and keep them at the club for training,” said Day from London.  

“Jamal and Tariq have travel restrictions from their countries [Europe] they are currently in so we will need to assess as we go along,” added the English head coach, who is awaiting tickets and expected to arrive in Dhaka on August 16 alongside assistant coach Stuart Watkiss.

Jony and Fahad both had undergone anterior cruciate ligament surgeries last year, while Matin suffered hamstring injury during the Bangabandhu Gold Cup semi-final in January this year.

The midfield-attacking trio were close to recovery before the pandemic suspended all sports in mid-March.

Bashundhara’s Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon hinted that it may take a month before they release Matin, Jony and Fahad.

“As these players had long term injuries before the Covid-19 break, they will do a pre-conditioning camp with us in the last weeks of August before joining the [national] camp on 1st of September,” Bruzon told Dhaka Tribune.

The remaining 31 players split into three groups have been instructed to join the camp on three different days due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The first group of 12 members will report on the opening day, followed by 12 Thursday and seven senior members Friday.

Each player has to pass the Covid-19 test before starting practice with the team.

The tests will be held at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka. 

Players will stay at Bangladesh Football Federation House in between the intervals and wait for Covid-19 test reports due in the evening before leaving for Sreepur.

“If anyone is found Covid-19 positive they will be kept in isolation before getting fit and ready,” said Masud Parvez Kaiser, the local assistant coach who will lead the charge in the absence of Day, accompanied by Syed Golam Jilani, former BFF and Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society head coach.

The first group of footballers due for opening day report are junior members including Biplu Ahmed, Bishwanath Ghosh, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil, Yeasin Arafat, Mohammad Abdullah, Manik Hossain Molla, Manjurur Rahman Manik, Faisal Ahmed Fahim, Pappu Hossain and three new faces – Nazmul Islam Rasel, Matheus Bablu and Sumon Reza.

Bangladesh will host Afghanistan on October 8 this year, face Qatar away from home on October 13, lock horns with India at home on November 12 before finishing the group stage on November 17 by hosting Oman. 

They played their last joint qualifying match against Oman in Muscat on November 14 last year.

Meanwhile, BFF, in pursuit of creating a stronger backroom staff, is negotiating with a physio, a fitness coach and a match analyst from the United Kingdom along with goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms, hoping to reach an agreement by Friday, informed federation’s general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag.

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